Wasps often nest in association with waxbills, weavers and some other birds. The birds obtain some protection from the stinging wasps. How wasps benefit from this association is less clear but some potential reasons are:
- by obtaining shelter (in the case where the wasps nest in or under the bird nest)
- or by the birds indicating suitable nesting sites (ie the wasps find good sites by seeing where birds have chosen good sites)
- or the birds provide early warning of approaching predators
The wide range of weaver species includes many savanna species, some forest-living species, some island species. Most records are for true weavers living in savanna.
There are also several examples of this association in the PHOWN database and these may be viewed here.
Most of the records refer to paper wasps, which have medium to powerful stings. Sometimes mud-nest wasps (Mud daubers) build their nests in or on weaver nests (usually deserted weaver nests). Mud daubers are rarely aggressive and stings are very uncommon, so the association is not a protective one.
Table – records of weaver – wasp nest associations
On = records of wasp nest attached inside or on outside of weaver nest (weaver nest present first)
Near = records of weaver and wasp nests built close together (either weaver or wasp nest built first)
|Speckle-fronted Weaver||Sporopipes frontalis||single|
|Sociable Weaver||Philetairus socius||many|
|Chestnut-crowned Sparrow-weaver||Plocepasser superciliosus||single|
|White-browed Sparrow-weaver||Plocepasser mahali||few||single|
|White-headed Buffalo-Weaver||Dinemellia dinemelli||single|
|Red-billed Buffalo-Weaver||Bubalornis niger||some||some|
|Asian Golden Weaver||Ploceus hypoxanthus||some|
|Black-breasted Weaver||Ploceus benghalensis||single|
|Baya Weaver||Ploceus philippinus||few||some|
|Streaked Weaver||Ploceus manyar||single|
|Red Fody||Foudia madagascariensis||some|
|Ibadan Malimbe||Malimbus ibadanensis||some|
|Red-vented Malimbe||Malimbus scutatus||few|
|Dark-backed Weaver||Ploceus bicolor||single||some|
|Red-headed Weaver||Anaplectes rubriceps||few|
|Red-headed Malimbe||Malimbus rubricollis||single|
|Slender-billed Weaver||Ploceus pelzelni||single|
|Black-necked Weaver||Ploceus nigricollis||single|
|Little Weaver||Ploceus luteolus||many|
|Spectacled Weaver||Ploceus ocularis||single||some|
|Lesser Masked Weaver||Ploceus intermedius||many|
|Vitelline Masked Weaver||Ploceus vitellinus||many|
|Lufira Masked Weaver||Ploceus ruweti||some|
|Southern Masked Weaver||Ploceus velatus||single||many|
|Heuglin’s Masked Weaver||Ploceus heuglini||many|
|Village Weaver||Ploceus cucullatus||single||many|
|If you have a photo of an interesting weaver nest or colony, please upload under PHOWN at the Virtual Museum of the University of Cape Town (read the “How to” pdf for help).
PHOWN, PHOtos of Weaver Nests, is a citizen science project to collect and monitor breeding distributions and colony sizes of weaver birds globally.